Brett Ratner apologizes for epileptic joke in 'Tower Heist' trailer

Tower Heist director Brett Ratner apologized for a joke in the trailer to his upcoming comedy that targets epileptics. Actor Greg Grunberg (Heroes), who has a 15-year-old son with epilepsy, took issue with the scene, which features a con played by Eddie Murphy calling an old childhood pal played by Ben Stiller “little seizure boy.” On Thursday, he tweeted, “TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE TRAILER for #TowerHeist – Making fun @ people w/ seizures is NOT FUNNY & WRONG! “Seizure Boy!” REALLY? #Boycott RT.”

On Saturday, Ratner apologized. “I am so sorry you are offended … I sincerely feel bad,” Ratner wrote to Grunberg, according to a statement posted on Grunberg’s epileptic foundation’s website,

“THANKS @BrettRatner for ur SINCERE APOLOGY to the Epilepsy Community!,” Grunberg tweeted soon after. “I’m lifting my personal boycott of ur hilarious film #TowerHeist RT.”

You can see the trailer in question below.

Read more:
‘Tower Heist’ stars Eddie Muprhy and Ben Stiller discuss their criminal pasts
‘Tower Heist’ preview

Comments (76 total) Add your comment
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  • Shush

    Now if he would only apologize for all of the bad movies he’s put out…..

  • dusty

    I think everyone needs to get off their moms teats and stop being such easily offended nimrods.

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    • Beth

      Oh gawwwwd, is there anything that anybody can joke about anymore????????

    • ,Lynne

      Hey Dusty,
      Obviously you do not know anyone with Epilepsy, You are clueless, we have a family member with Epilepsy.
      Try a little kindness next time…you never know when you will be in a situation and need help or may feel offended that someone is making fun of something you are dealing with,

  • Kathryn

    To be fair, any joke is going to offend someone. However, people would be up and arms about a gay joke, so why not epilepsy. It’s not like the disabled community has many crusaders these day,,,and I mean that wholeheartedly. Good for Greg.

    • X-MAN

      “Up in arms”????

      As a disabled man with no arms.. I take offense at that statement!!! I’d slap you if I could…

  • Kathryn

    **these days

    • Doubt it

      How about “up in arms” rather than “up and arms”?

      • Beth


  • Terry

    Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. *eye roll*

  • Buddy

    Oh know! A CHARACTER in a film said a mean joke! Who cares? It’s basically just the director apologizing for something that it makes sense for that character to say given their attitudes. Ridiculous.

  • Denise Champness

    It didn’t take much to make Greg Grunberg go from hating ‘Tower Heist’ to acting like he’ll be first in line to see it.
    He should have publicly campaigned to have the trailer removed and for the line to be removed from the film itself.

  • Ryan

    I think back to when people were railing at Ben Stiller over Downey’s ‘offensive cartoonish’ portrayal of a black man in “Tropic Thunder”. They said the film was racist. Stiller told people to chill. He said they weren’t spoofing black people, the spoof was on over the top actors, such as one who thinks he can ‘play black’.

    No epilepsy isn’t funny. But I didn’t find that offensive. I just took it as a trait of Eddie Murphy’s character in the film that he in un-caring and un-PC

  • joe luck

    This is retarded, I mean mentally challenged. If Eddie wasn’t black, I mean African-American, and was a just a normal cracker, I mean white guy, the nobody would be getting their panties in a twist, I mean, upset.

    • ChanChan

      “just a normal cracker,” LMAO!!! Too funny.

  • UGH

    A black man, a jew, and a cripple walk into a bar….

    • WWIII

      How about a one-eyed black jew [Sammy Davis Jr.].

      • Nshi

        I’m offended.

      • WWIII

        Why? Which part applies to you?

    • Oscar

      I’m offended that Ratner wants Eddie Murphy to host the Oscars. He’s even less funny than Joe Piscopo now.

  • nezzo

    Now I’m just waiting on Ratner to apologize for his directorial efforts in X-men: The Last Stand.

  • Dana

    I agree with Ryan I just took it as Eddie’s character flaw looks funny to me

  • Templar

    If we can’t make fun of death, stupidity, infirmities, the 7 deadly sins, clumsiness etc. what are we supposed to laugh at?

    • X-MAN

      Fart jokes?

      • Templar

        Yeah? Well the sourpuss’ on this blog fart funerals.

  • Justin

    Still waiting for Brett Ratner to apologize to all of us for making movies.

  • Alyssa

    Are any of you Epileptic? Its not a funny thing. I have epilepsy and almost died from it. I have lost alot of memories from it too. In 2005 I was on my High-school swim team and I had a Grand Mal Seizure while doing laps in practice and had to be taken to the ER because I was found floating face down in the water. I couldn’t drive for 6 months or swim. And I did get water in my lungs.

    I have no problem with jokes. But why don’t we find leave mental illness, head problems and sexuality alone. If not then comedy is not worth it.

    • So

      So you would ban Young Frankenstein, The Birdcage, the 3 Stooges, Zorro, The Gay Blade, Forrest Gump and Spaceballs among others?

      • Laura

        Alyssa is right. Her point, which I think you and the rest of this message board missed is why this joke is offensive: the remarks are meant to objectify and trivialize a very serious medical problem. This joke is offensive in the same way if, say, Ben Stiller referred to Eddie Murphy as the “little n****r boy.” Had such a joke taken place, I’m sure the ad would have been banned. But, because it’s the disabled community people still find it funny. You all make me sick.

    • Alyssa

      NO- I meant joking about it in Bad Taste. Mental illness- I meant ” Boy what a retard, they should lock him/her up” IDK, something along those lines. Sexuality- I meant ” Gay/ Homophobic jokes”. Both are really middle school type humor.

    • Brodie Bruce

      Do you know Julie Dwyer?

    • Laura

      That is a frightening story, and I’m very glad you are okay.

    • Cheryl

      Alyssa, yes I have Epilepsy, no it’s not funny and I feel your pain I too almost died in a seizure as I quit breathing, I two am happy your ok…..

    • ,Lynne

      It is a shame, we have a family member who has Grand Mal seizures. All you people who think this is amusing need to read up on it and educate yourselves.It is a serious medical issue and nothing to be made fun of. Oh… there are plenty of people who do much on behalf of those with Epilepsy for research. Some very ignorant comments from people… Alyssa, so sorry to hear of your situation and Cheryl, we will keep you in our thoughts.

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